by Susan Zoe Bella
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
It’s only rock and roll but I hate it. Groupies, parties, a cheating ex, and a dark night spawned a wake-up call. I’d shifted my focus to work and avoiding social media. Singing lead for a famous band had become nothing more than a steppingstone to my true dream of racing Pro Motocross. I hadn’t dated in years. Then ‘she’ showed up and everything in me longed to be with her. I was stoked she’d agreed to join me at High Point Raceway for the weekend, even if it meant putting up with Mack. Better still, Mia wasn’t a groupie, not even close. She wasn’t even a fan of our music. If love at first sight had a name, it would be Mia Fringe and I had to make her mine. ~ Jett
I’d seen him in passing over the years. He was the neighbor of my best friend. But we’d never officially been introduced until the night Mackie badgered me into meeting him after attending his band’s concert. I tried not to look awestruck, stunned that someone this gorgeous had been within my scope for years but had not caught my attention. He had success written all over him. Girls like me didn’t end up with guys like him. Recently unemployed, still living on the family farm, and recovering from a nervous breakdown, I was a mess. But Jett saw something in me that nobody else ever had…worth. ~ Mia
Action, drama, and chaos kick off right from the start at High Point Raceway when Mackie has second thoughts about playing matchmaker between Mia and Jett. However, when the week of bliss comes to an end, Mia is heartbroken and confused as to why Jett doesn’t keep his promise. She accepts a job as a reporter three thousand miles away to escape the pain.
Ten years later, Mia and Jett cross paths in the most startling way. She’s about to discover the truth of what really happened so long ago. Will she be able to trust Jett again when he pleads for a second chance? Can love and forgiveness conquer a decade of hurt? It all goes down in the dirt during the last race of the season.
A shadow of disappointment prowled through my mind. He’d slammed on the brakes. I could’ve taken it as rejection. But he was no fool. He was bound to uncover the truth before giving too much of himself.
“We forgot to bring lunch,” I pointed out as we entered the cave.
“Oh yeah. I had other things on my mind. Maybe we’ll find some berries.”
“In May?” I giggled. “For that matter, why not root around in logs for honeycombs.”
He laughed. “We could do that.” Then he dipped his brows in a comical expression and said in a deep voice, “I’ll fight off the bears for you, my love.”
Love? He dropped the L-word? I stared at him. Was it a slip? Or a mere casual expression? After all, Europeans used it very casually. My thoughts went into overdrive. I hated when that happened.
“Let’s explore. Maybe the natives left behind some jerky,” he teased with a grin.
“The eternal optimist,” I countered. “I love it.”
We wandered deeper into the cave between moss-covered slate walls. Water trickled down the sides. The cave smelled musty. Something skittered across the rocky floor. I screamed and leaped sideways.
“There are creepy crawlies in here!”
“I saw that,” he said. “No worries. They’re more afraid of us than we are of them.”
“Uh…speak for yourself.” I shrieked again. “Jett!” I had jumped onto a ledge a foot above ground and clung to the wall. “I’m not this much country. Can we go please?”
“Okay, doll.” He smiled apologetically. “There’s nothing to see in here anyway. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
Something sticky brushed my face. I swatted frantically but seemingly had entangled myself in a web. The more panicked I became the worse things got. My flailing arms gathered more webbing. I slipped off the ledge in all my thrashing about and tumbled to the ground, scraping my arms and legs on the way down.
“Mia!” He caught my arms. “Stop. Baby, stop moving!”
“Oh no…” I whimpered. “What is it?”
“Nothing,” he replied calmly but apprehension snuck into his voice. “Just stay very, very still, doll.”
“Omigosh,” I cried.
He snapped a twig from a branch sticking out of the wall and in my peripheral vision his arm moved painstakingly slowly. I held my breath and didn’t dare twitch. A couple of agonizing minutes later, he tossed the stick aside then swept me into his arms.
“We should get the hell out of here,” he muttered.
I clung to him. “What was it?”
“You don’t wanna know.”
“Ew. Ew. Did it bite me? Am I okay?”
“Sshh, you’re safe now. It never touched your skin. It saw all that beautiful blonde hair and thought, hm, a perfect place to spell out the word radiant.”
“Omigosh. It was one of those…I can’t even say it. Ew. Ew. Get me out of here.”
He broke into a run with me in his arms. I didn’t take a full breath until we exited the cave.
“I need another bath.” I continued frenetically brushing my arms and head, still in panic mode.
We made our way back to the waterhole and I didn’t hesitate to strip down and dive in. I submerged myself, scrubbing my face and hair furiously. He dove in with me. When I finally calmed down, convinced I’d rid myself of anything that’d hitched a ride, I relaxed and casually swam around.
“Seems I’ve discovered your one fear,” he said upon swimming over to me. “You don’t like bugs.”
“No. I don’t. Especially the kind that makes webs.” I shivered at the thought.
“I’m really sorry.” He began to laugh. “I had no idea. I don’t mean to laugh. Honest. I’m not mocking you. But you were a sight back there.”
“Ha-ha.” I scowled. “Why’d you sound so urgent when telling me to stop moving?”
“I didn’t want it to bite you. Those things typically aren’t aggressive unless they feel threatened. And you, my dear, were definitely in a frenzy.”
“Now I’m cold, hungry, and freaked out. I’m never going into a cave again.”
A Word With the Author
1.Did you always want to be an author?
~ No. I wanted to be a rock star or an actress.
When I was a young girl, I made up skits and would perform for anyone who would watch. I dragged my next-door neighbor friend into each one. We ended up performing a number from Grease for her church. When I turned eighteen, my sister introduced me to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I landed the role of Janet in the show at the King’s Court Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. I loved it! Every weekend I’d drive all the way from home to downtown Oakland to perform on Friday and Saturday nights.My supervisor even let me leave work early on those nights so I could get to Oakland in time to get into costume. It was harmless fun. I wasn’t doing anything bad, but my mom made me quit. I got very depressed after that because I’d made a lot of wonderful friends within the cast. Our cast was so good that we were invited to do the Time Warp at Club Heaven in downtown Pittsburgh and the TV show 60 Minutes filmed us! All my friends at work were tuned into the TV that day when it aired. My one fleeting moment of fame. Quitting the show was devastating but my parents were not the type of people to mess with. I’d have to admit, becoming an author was purely accidental. I wrote when I was depressed to put myself into better worlds. I never dreamed of becoming an author. It’s not a glamorous ambition. It’s just something I do. I started writing in grade school out of boredom. My teachers all through school loved my work and in high school wanted to publish it. I was too shy, though, to let them. It didn’t take long for me to discover that writing carried me away from reality. Stuck on a farm with a minimal social life and working harder than any child should, writing became my escape. My stories got longer and more involved. I began to get lost in them. I had an innate ability to play out fantasies in my mind where I could visualize every detail. So I simply wrote what I saw. And that’s what I do. I write what I see. Once a story (or fantasy) comes to me, I simply describe what’s going on in my mind. I have sort of a photographic brain. It’s a strange experience. One of the quirky things about my writing that people close to me know about is how many of the things I write come true. Family members did not like seeing themselves portrayed in my books and my writing has made me plenty of enemies and incurred a lot of wrath. I can’t predict anything. I’m not clairvoyant. It’s just a freaky thing with my books. My fiancé is always amazed when he sees things from my books manifest. He is the only one who embraces my freaky nature. On the upside, that girl I dragged into skits as a child went on to become a performer and Miss Butler County. She was a geeky little country girl when I met her. We both were. She blossomed into a celebrity and me, well, I’m still a nobody writing my dreams into novels.
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
~ My first novel was The Satellite contracted with WingsPress. The book received the Golden Wings award upon its debut release and became the first installment of the Night Brigade series which features five full-length novels. They made the bestseller list on Fictionwise back in 2008 and 2009. In December of 2006, I took to writing again after a string of crushing experiences that emotionally flattened me. The first book got scrapped but the very last chapter created a character by the name of Booker Savage. He breathed new life into my writing and Night Brigade was born. I finally decided to publish my first novel. Booker was supposed to be a bit player, come in, help kidnap the girl then leave but he stole my heart and ended up as my strongest muse…until now. Booker had many years in the spotlight, but a new muse has stolen my heart as my writing evolved.
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
~ I don’t really have one. I read a lot less than I did before I began writing full-time. My favorite author before I started writing my own novels was Janelle Taylor.
4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
~ The best part is losing myself in the stories I create, and when the characters come to life! My mind is energized, and I feel so much better overall physically and mentally. Writing is a pressure valve for me that releases pent-up stress and all the feelings I struggle to process.
The worst part is not having a story in the works. I feel lost and depressed. My OCD brain needs somewhere to channel thoughts. And I suppose another downside is putting myself out there for others to pick apart. I’ve received some very cruel reviews. And I’ve received awesome reviews. It’s a tough business. It’s not what I dreamed of doing but it’s what I do to entertain myself and I hope that my books do the same for those who read them. We all need a break from reality.
5.What are you working on now?
~ I have several story ideas and titles in my folder. The covers of what I have planned are on my website. I started my Shook Coda series, but it’s not coming together yet. I’d really love to write Awestruck because the cover is gorgeous. Another story I’d like to dive into is one about a drug lord’s son…my Heart and Soul series. I recently finished a sixteen-book series for a publisher under a different pen name, so I’m a bit tapped out at the moment, waiting for that next inspiration to grab me. My eightieth novel is finished, edited, and set for release in March under my other name. Most of my eighty books are retired because they were too dark or erotic. I no longer want to write those types of books. My new works, including High Point, are plot-driven tender romances with drama, a bit of humor at times, light suspense, and plenty of action. I’m a fool for a good romance. I’ve gone back to writing the way I used to before I plummeted down the rabbit hole into darkness. I thank the good Lord for His grace during that time and for lifting me out of that pit. One thing you won’t find in my books is pregnancy tropes, kids, or sagging middles. I don’t like to read boring books, so I don’t write them either. What you can expect in my novels is plenty of action, heart-wrenching and heartwarming romance, and happy endings. Oh, and tons of shocking twists! I love writing the unexpected. I write out of the box and don’t follow trends, which probably is why I’m not popular because when I wrote vampires, I actually had a following. Imagine that! But I believe in being true to oneself. I swam against the tide to write High Point. And thus far, of the eighty novels I’ve published, High Point is my favorite! No matter how many times I read it, I never tire of it. I hope you’ll give it a try 😊
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
"I am a fan of happily ever after. My novels are too!"
Susan Zoe enjoys creating contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and romantic suspense stories with a gritty flair. Her stories are her own, and she typically writes outside the box. She’s always been a leader not a follower. Writing is her mental filter and how she processes the world around her, a fictional place where she can control the outcome at her comfort level with justice and happy endings. Her imagination is her greatest strength as it carries her away from daily stress.
As a survivor of hardship and chronic disease, she takes one day at a time and treasures the simple things in life. Susan Zoe is a Christian, loves animals, and practices being kind and generous every day. When not immersed in new stories, she enjoys watching movies, Motocross and Supercross, playing Yahtzee with her fiancé, and hanging out with her loyal 24/7 companion and trained service dog. She’s not a fan of sitcoms as they don’t offer enough mental stimulation. Losing herself in an intense story gives her brain the workout it needs to manage OCD, anxiety, depression, and stress.
Her achievements thus far include The Golden Wings Award for her debut novel The Satellite, the UK Nobel Pin and Editor’s Choice Award for her poem The Lonely Man, numerous 5 Star Reviews from Fallen Angels Reviews, Coffee Time Romance, InD’tale Magazine, Goodreads and more for current and retired novels. She was also a RONE Awards Finalist in 2017.
She loves to hear from readers and chat!
In her words, “Writing is the only time I’m truly free.” She’s happiest when her intriguing characters come to life and steal her away into their worlds where anything is possible.
Barnes & Noble/Print and eBook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/high-point-susan-zoe-bella/1143732985?ean=9798223585893
Susan Zoe Bella will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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